The Launch Brand Grow Blog is made up of guest posters from all over the world, in all different creative industries!
If you would like to be a guest blogger, please fill out this form to apply.
Priority blogging spaces go to our Launch Brand Grow Community members. Check out the Community right here!
Launch Brand Grow Events & members
community members & events
November 21, 2018
Our friend Morgan at Morgan Stapp Design does beautiful brand and web design, but she also offers a great perspective on small business ownership.
It’s not all about business and technical expertise, it’s also about taking care of yourself and making sure you’re getting the things out of your business that you want to get out of it.
When we start a business, we’re excited by the business. We get into the weeds, learning about all sorts of technical topics. We learn the jargon and we use the jargon. We take on as many clients as we can get and we work and work and work.
And a lot of us burn out.
Pin me to read later!
It can get stressful. That’s why it’s so important to take care of yourself, and that’s where Morgan comes in. She has blog posts about design, and she has blog posts about technical business topics, but she also has posts about being a human who is running a business.
She has posts about why it’s OK to fail, and why you need to actually take time off.
Most of us started working for ourselves because we felt like we were working too many hours for not enough money. Once we become the boss, though, we fall back into the same habits. We work too much, eat too bad, don’t sleep enough, and don’t give ourselves a break.
It’s easy enough to do, and there’s no judgment here for losing that work life balance. Once you’re the one totally responsible for your success or failure, it’s hard not to overdo it.
There’s a quote out there to the effect that people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, and underestimate what they can accomplish in 10 years, and owning a small business is definitely a 10 year situation. It’s important to have a good year, but it’s more important for your business to exist in 10 years.
If your business exists in 10 years, it will almost certainly be a successful business. In 10 years, people will know who you are, you will have a giant portfolio of work and who knows how may satisfied customers. But your business won’t exist in 10 years if you burn out in year 2 go back to work for the man.
We think taking care of yourself is one of the most important and least appreciated aspects of running your business, so here are four ways to stay strong and mentally healthy while you’re doing your small business thing.
Scheduling time off and actually taking it is the most important thing. Setting boundaries around your business is the best way to make sure you don’t burn out. It’s easy to say, “but I love what I do so I don’t need time off.”
But if you never give yourself a break, your business becomes this thing that needs you 24/7 just to exist. Your business becomes a tyrannical boss, when it should be wealth.
Your clients will expect to always be able to get in touch, and they will expect very quick responses. Social media wonders where you’ve gone after an hour.
I think if you love your work and think about it all time, then time off is even more rejuvenating. As you take time off, you get more and more excited to get back to it, and you experience incredible productivity for the day or two after you come back.
And when I talk about taking time off, I’m not talking about regular two week vacations. I’m talking about making sure you have something resembling an actual weekend most weeks. I’m talking about putting away the laptop and the phone and pulling out a book or going on a little day-trip. Or going to the gym, which brings me to the next point!
I think a lot of people look at exercising the way they look at dieting. It’s this giant and really unpleasant thing that is only worth it if it achieves spectacular results like losing 30 pounds and having chiseled abs. It’s also not the default way we live.
Most people diet so they can look good and then go back to eating whatever they want. (Kind of like a lot of people overwork themselves like crazy and then try to take a giant and luxurious vacation to undo the last year of stress so that they can start working like crazy again after the new year.)
Instead, we should think of working out as a basic way to take care of ourselves like personal hygiene or taking vitamins. We don’t do it because we’re trying to achieve some magical transformation. We do it because we’re trying to feel good on a daily basis.
This is a giant topic that deserves its own blog post, but we can cover the basics here.
If you’re a freelancer, that might mean charging 2 or 3 times or more what you got paid hourly at your last job. You’re the boss now. When the company doesn’t get paid, you don’t get paid, so you need to charge enough to cover that. When you have a slow month and can’t find enough clients, you don’t get paid, so you need to charge enough to cover that. You’re paying health insurance out of pocket, etc.
You should also keep track of your hours. You might feel like you’re really raking it in because your last client paid you a thousand dollars, but maybe it turns out you had to work 150 hours on the project and you ended up only making 6-something dollars per hour. And remember, all time spent working on your laptop (even if you’re on the couch, and even if Netflix is on) counts as work.
Every business messes up. As the sole person in your business, when your business messes up, it will be because of you. And even if it wasn’t because of you, your client will still probably hold you responsible.
Always do your best to make things right, and treat all of your mistakes as learning opportunities to decrease the chance of them happening again in the future. But remember that mistakes will happen, and that’s OK.
Before you can be really good at something, you have to be really bad at it.
Want more posts like this? Then you will LOVE our friend Morgan of Morgan Stapp Design. She’s inspired us so much to have a well-rounded business, and we’re sure she’ll inspire you too!
The Launch Brand Grow and Creative Summits were built to help creative entrepreneurs with networking, learning, educating, supporting, empowering, vulnerability, camaraderie, creative spirit, suggestions, connections & more